What should I do if I am in the middle of a court trial?

Karen writes, "I was planning to send my application but I recently received a ticket for 'Open Container' and have to show up in the court to plead guilty and pay the fine of 25 dollar. My question is.. is this going to affect my application? On form I821D what should I answer for Part 3 question 1 (Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted a felony or misdemeanor in the US?).  I'm afraid that if I answer yes, they will not approve my application. Should I include copy of the ticket and write an explanation?  I received a ticket while sitting on the beach with my friends, one of them had an open can of beer, and all of us received a ticket. It's not like I committed a crime but I have to go to criminal court to pay it and plead guilty.  Please help."

Don't ever even think about lying to the government agencies, particularly the USCIS, because as an illegal immigrant you have no right to anything, so if they suspect that you lied, you will get into a lot of trouble.  And with something like a ticket that will show up in a few clicks during your background check, it will be an easy case to reject.  So answer yes and attach all the paperwork that you have now.  Ideally, you should wait till the case is decided so that you can then send all the paperwork.  If possible bring $25 with you and pay it right then and there and try to mail the application that day itself, so prepare it ahead of time.  Since this was only a misdemeanor, and assuming that this is the only one on your record, it will not affect your application.  And by the way, as bad as you might feel, sometimes just being in the company of bad people is a crime, so hopefully you will learn a very important lesson that if you are in the company of someone breaking the law, chances are you too will be considered as an accomplice.  Alternatively, you could also hire an attorney to plead your case and not plead guilty, so if you are acquitted, your record will be clean.  Maybe you do have a case that you did not drink even a sip and maybe you can produce witnesses or people can testify that you don't even drink alcohol.

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